Lao Pun Tao Kong is a Taoist Shrine on Songwat Road in Bangkok’s Chinatown. It is dedicated to the Chinese god Pun Tao Kong who is the god of the nearby buzzing commercial area of Sampeng Market. The shrine can be found within the compound of the famous Chinese language Peiing School in a street full of old shophouses & warehouses.
The shrine dates back to the reign of King Rama III & was constructed by Chinese immigrants from the Teochew community. The temple has been renovated a couple of times since, lastly in the year 2007 to honor the 80th birthday of King Rama IX. The Lao Pun Tao Kong shrine entrance is through a stunning red arched gate in a classic Chinese architectural design. The roof of the arch features two green dragons chasing a flaming pearl.
Lao Pun Tao Kong – Exterior
The outer front wall of the Lao Pun Tao Kong shrine is decorated with lovely murals depicting mythological figures and scenes. There are ducks, the god of longevity, cranes, bamboo, lions, elephants, a unicorn, butterflies, & lotus flowers, all meaningful symbols to Taoists. If you look up you will see colorful ceramic warriors & a large yellow dragon atop the roof of the shrine. They are there to defend the shrine from evil forces. The doorway to the shrine is guarded by two golden Fu Dogs, one to protect the shrine’s exterior and the other to guard the interior. Everything is designed to create positive energy.
Lao Pun Tao Kong – Interior
The inner doors of the Lao Pun Tao Kong Shrine have paintings of the gatekeeper god Muengsing, who is another temple guardian. Just inside the door, to the left is a shrine to Pun Tao Kong. Local people believe that worshiping Pun Tao Kong will bring them good health and success in business and trade. They worship by lighting candles, burning incense sticks & making donations. On either side of the shrine are two small ponds, featuring mosaics of a tiger & a green dragon. Again, they act as temple guardians.
At the back of the Lao Pun Tao Kong shrine building, there are three altars. The middle altar is a shrine to the god Tua Laoia Kong. There are two statues. He has a long black beard & sits holding a sword with one foot on a turtle & the other on a snake. On the right is a second shrine to Tua Pun Tao Kong. On the left is a shrine to Jui Hoksing. Jui Hoksing is joined by statues of other deities including Guan Yin.
Tua Laoia Kong is the chief god of the shrine while Pun Tao Kong is a local god who watches over people in the Sampeng area. Pun Tao Kong is usually found in Chinese market areas.
The Tua Pun Tao Kong image at the right-hand altar is dressed in a warrior costume and on either side is a warrior.
The Lao Pun Tao Kong shrine is one of the most colorful and architecturally attractive shrines in Chinatown and well worth a visit if you’re exploring in the area.
The shrine is particularly busy during important Chinese festivals. The lunar calendar determines the exact dates.
Lao Pun Tao Kong – Events
Chinese New Year – 1st day of a new moon, the 15th day of a new moon of the 1st. month of the lunar calendar.
Celebration of Tua Lao Ia Gong – the Greatest Deity’s Divine Birthday (3rd day of a new moon of the 3rd month of the lunar calendar).
Ting Krajard Festival – 6th day of a new moon of the 7th month of the lunar calendar.
The birthday of Pun Tao Kong – 15th day of a new moon of the 8th month of the lunar calendar.
The Annual Celebration of the god – the 4,5,6th of a new moon of the 11th month of the lunar calendar.
The latter celebration includes a performance of a Chinese play.
Where is it?
Location: 833 Songwad Road, Samphanthawong, Chinatown, Bangkok.
Opening Hours: 08.00 – 17.00 daily.
Getting There: Chao Phraya Express Boat to Ratchawongse Pier. Walk up Ratchawong Road and turn right on to Song Wad Road. The shrine is on the left-hand side.